7 of the Best Songs – 21 June 2021

John Preston picks his seven best new songs of the week.

Mariah the Scientist, ‘2 You’

It’s a certainty with Mariah the Scientist that any new material will instantly compel. Sounds, melodies and lyrics may initially conform with recognised R&B tropes but some elements won’t quite prescribe to the expected template, feeling uncanny and disorienting. ‘2 You’ builds on this signature, beautifully.

Sally Shapiro, ‘Fading Away’

Stepping out from retirement, Sally Shapiro’s return is very welcome and ‘Fading Away’ is a big slice of melancholic Italo-disco which, although offering nothing new, is up there with her best tracks. The alternative soundtrack to a forlorn and bitter-sweet summer.

Griff, ‘Shade of Yellow’

This is from Griff’s second EP release One Foot in Front of the Other and which continues to demonstrate the shocking talent of this UK-based performer. Songs like this, expertly written and subtly complex, suggest hordes of writing teams finally coming up with a winner, but it’s only Griff’s name in the credits.

Annie and Jake Shears, ‘Neon Lights’

Annie’s beautiful but downbeat Dark Hearts album from last may have prompted her to indulge in some euro-cheese for respite. Joined by Jake Shears, ‘Neon Lights’ is so inconsequential and effervescent that it turns a corner from the ridiculous to the sublime.

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Diana Ross, ‘Thank You’

It’s likely that ‘Thank You’ is the most vintage Ross-like track on what is promised to be a very interesting return following a 15-year break. There is still no-one else that sounds like Diana Ross, a voice that has soothed and seduced for decades and returns just when we need her most.

Alus and Cakes Da Killa, ‘Wig (Remix)’

Ridiculous and outrageous, Alus pairs up with the underrated and brilliant rapper Cakes Da Killa for a spin through ballroom and drag-centric cat calling atop a chunky and knowing beat.

Niki and the Dove, ‘Galvanise’

‘Galvanise’ is an odd, funky and nostalgic disco churner. Pulling its influences from a million different decades, Niki and the Dove have landed on a sound that pushes back from the current default of house diva wails and plush strings and twists itself into something altogether more unhinged.

About John Preston

South London based music obsessive with strong opinions about most things. Doubts Madonna has another good record in her but would love more than anything to be proved wrong.